Once your warranty has expired, you may still be able to claim free repair and replacement for certain technical faults under consumer protection laws. For example, consumers are entitled to expect that products they buy are ‘fit for purpose’, and there have been examples where mobile phone owners have been able to use this to make claims in cases where their device does not last the duration of a 24-month contract.
However, the difficulty is you have to be able to prove that the handset carried a manufacturing fault when it was purchased which meant it was never going to last for two years. This means paying for engineer’s reports and takes time and effort.
Further protections exist if a breakdown is caused by an operating system update or by a faulty app. It is important to remember that claims made under these laws must be made to the retailer, not the device manufacturer - so, in the case of faulty updates etc, from your mobile operator, in the case of apps from the app store you made the purchase from.
If your phone becomes faulty as a result of accidental damage or general wear and tear, there is not much recourse to free repair or replacement outside your warranty period. Your mobile operator may offer an aftercare service, but this will in most circumstances be paid for. Some manufacturers, e.g. Apple, also offer paid-for extended warranties.
If you are locked into several more months of a contract and your handset is completely unusable, it becomes a case of weighing up the best value solution. Repairs through a third party can often be less expensive than going through your mobile service provider, although you may not get a guarantee on the work.
For the most serious faults, repair may be either highly expensive or simply not possible. You could look at cancelling your contract and starting another to get a new device, but you will probably have to pay a termination fee. In many cases, it is cheaper to buy an unlocked second hand phone to use your SIM in for the duration of the contract.
Overall, the best way to guarantee being able to repair or replace your broken smartphone at any point during your contract is to take out insurance. At Row.co.uk, we offer unlimited repairs and free collection and return on all smartphones, covering accidental damage, cracked screens, water damage, technical breakdown, theft and loss. Click here to find out more.